I didn’t post yesterday for ‘Because I Can’t Write a Novel’ because I had a shit day. There will be two posts today (apologies if you’re all blogged out), and I had to move things around a little. This post was half-written on my laptop from the last time I went through this (it will become clear shortly), and it seems only fitting to share it now. The thoughts I’d been writing over a year and a half ago are exactly how I feel right now.
Because I Can’t Write a Novel – Day 14: My Lovely Lady Lumps
Today I went to the hospital. If you’re not up to date with the whole cervical situation I seem to have found myself in, the basic rundown is this …
I had a routine smear which came back with ‘high grade dyskaryosis’, and I then had a colposcopy. Following on from that I had a procedure called LLETZ, a biopsy, and was diagnosed HPV positive and the cells as CIN3. Apparently this ‘thing’ would leave my body on its own. I had a follow-up smear which came back with an abnormal result again, and I then had another colposcopy. The doctor who performed this said that she couldn’t see anything, and I was discharged back to my doctor for three-yearly smears.
I was unhappy with this result – discharging me back to my doctor and three-yearly smears again – but I trusted the information I was given and didn’t think any more of it. As far as I was concerned the tubulovillous adenoma (pre-cancerous polyp) they found in my bowel had been removed and I was ‘clear’. My cervix was ‘fine’ until my next smear in three years time. Done and dusted, right?
Following on from this I had irregular bleeding. I had irregular periods. Some months my period wouldn’t turn up at all, and others it would be just a bit late – a few days, a week, a couple of weeks. Sometimes I just bled for a couple of hours here and there. I came off the pill to try and regulate things. I considered other forms of contraception but vetoed them. I experienced bleeding after sex, and also very painful sex. And then one day, during some ‘solo time’, I found a lump. It was only small, perhaps about the size of a pea, but it was definitely there. I definitely don’t remember ever feeling it before.
I was still sleeping with Brown Eyes at the time, so I brought it up with him and he made me promise to call the doctor about it if it didn’t go away on its own. Our relationship deteriorated, and my libido virtually disappeared for a while, and then Bear came into my life. I once again found the lump, and he felt it too. I made him feel for it because I’m a firm believer in helping each other out in these situations. I pay close attention to his balls, he pays close attention to … well, most of me.
Over time the lump seemed to get bigger, and then on some days I could barely feel it at all. But then Bear and I had that incredibly painful sex situation. I called the doctor, made my appointment, and waited … for three weeks.
My appointment came and I spoke to a doctor who performed an internal examination on me. She couldn’t find my cervix. She grabbed a nurse, and then another nurse, but between the three of them, they just couldn’t find my cervix. She told me that she thought the lump I was talking about was on my vaginal wall and not my cervix, and would therefore refer me to a gynaecologist to take a closer look.
I was pissed off by this. I’m no gynaecological expert but I knew where that lump was and it most definitely wasn’t on my vaginal wall. My cervix and I have become rather well-acquainted over the last couple of years, especially after I saw it magnified on the big screen (as did my mother – embarrassing), so I knew that damn lump was on my cervix. Still the doctor ignored my protests. I waited four weeks for my gynae appointment, and then my specialist was running an hour and a half late by the time I arrived. I love the NHS, and I would never say anything about the people who work for it, but I was pissed off and getting increasingly more so.
I walked into the room, sat down in front of the lovely female gynaecologist, and explained my situation. I also told her that I didn’t think the lump was on my vaginal wall at all, and that I was almost one hundred percent certain that it would be on my cervix. At this point she told me that if that were the case, there would be very little she could do and she’d still need to refer me to the cervical specialists.
Regardless I found myself stripping from the waist down and ‘hopping on the bed’. It wasn’t long before she and the female nurse had their hands in my vagina, and at one point my own fingers were in there too. Lump located, she gave me the news I didn’t want to hear …
“Okay, I can feel the lump and looking in I can see what you’re referring to also. Unfortunately this isn’t something that I can deal with, so I will be referring you for an urgent appointment with colposcopy.”
My gynaecologist was already running an hour and a half late by the time I arrived. She’d spent almost 40 minutes with me (despite only being allocated a 15 minute appointment), which meant I’d made everyone in the waiting room super-late too, and I shouldn’t even have been referred there in the first place. My own GP just didn’t listen to me. And now I still need to wait for an appointment with colposcopy, which you know won’t be before Christmas or the New Year now.
And now I’m scared too. I’m scared because I’m starting to have very little faith in the professionals who are seeing me – medical professionals who just won’t listen to me. I wasn’t happy with the discharge back to 3-yearly smears but kept my mouth shut about it, and now I’m worried that this lump is the ‘abnormal result’ I had back then – the ‘abnormal result’ that was brushed away without even an explanation during my last colposcopy.
“What were the abnormal cells if there’s nothing there?”
“Oh, just nothing. Nothing to worry about.”
Between this cervix issue and the pre-cancerous polyp found on my bowel, there have been a catalog of errors. Referrals weren’t made when they should have been. Letters weren’t sent. Biopsy results were lost. One doctor told me my bowel polyp had been nothing, and it wasn’t until I saw a different specialist for an endoscopy months later that I was told about the ‘tubulovillous adenoma”. The specialist couldn’t believe I hadn’t been told about it. And then a doctor ignored me when I told her I felt I was being referred to the wrong place. I’m not trying to tell a doctor how to do their job (because I’m most definitely not one), but I knew that lump was on my cervix, and her refusal to listen to me has meant this entire process has now been dragged out over three or four months. If she’d just referred me to colposcopy like I’d asked (and I was told by the gynaecologist yesterday that she should have done), that appointment would have been and gone by now, and I probably would have had my results by now too. It’s just so frustrating.
I think the NHS is a marvellous thing, but having changed my GP surgery twice, and never seeing the same doctor more than once, I’m starting to worry that maybe I’m just being glazed-over. People aren’t listening to me. I seem to be spending all my time chasing letters, results and referrals I shouldn’t have to chase (or at least, I was told I wouldn’t), and all the while I’m worried about that lump and the fact that it could be bad news. Like really bad news. Especially after one “successfully treated” bout of CIN3 wasn’t successfully treated at all, and that “abnormal result” that seemed to go away by itself and couldn’t be explained. I know that happens sometimes, I do, I’m not stupid, but seriously? This is really pissing me off.
So … now we wait. We wait for another referral to the colposcopy clinic. And we hope too. We hope that they don’t make me have that awful LLETZ procedure again. Because honestly, I can’t bear the thought of that 🙁
- Expected word count: 23,338
- Word count today: 1,472
- Word count to date: 19,108 (Well … I’m massively behind!)